Dr. Rishikesan Parthiban

Awardee of 'Satish K. Sehgal Doctoral Student Award'

With a technical background and a will to work in the area of technology for social good, I joined the MIS group at IIM Calcutta in the year 2015. The next six years was a journey that I took along with several mentors, peers and other well-wishers that transformed my views about several aspects of my personal and professional life. When I reflect on my time at IIM-C today, I can safely say that the myth that ‘PhD is a lonely journey into an unchartered territory’ was shattered by this beautiful institution.

The first two years at IIM-C helped build my foundations from ground zero for a career in academia. The excellent mix of post-graduate and doctoral level courses offered at IIM-C, helped provide both breadth and depth in knowledge in my area of interest. The pedagogy in the second year ensured that we got to work closely with the faculty members and get a glimpse into how they think about and pursue research. The close-knit student community at IIM-C also helped provide the much-needed perspectives to everything that we learnt.

After the comprehensive qualifying examination, I was fortunate to work in an area that I initially wished. My guide and mentor Prof. Somprakash Bandyopadhyay walked me and at times carried me through the ups and downs of the dissertation phase. IIM-C on its part attempted to provide everything that was asked for - be it tangible support for field travel, conferences, books, laptop, workshops or intangible support through counselling, mentoring, and ideation support, among others. For instance, by the end of my PhD, I was provided the opportunity to travel to more than six states in India and study the role of social enterprises in addressing some of the pressing social issues that we face today.

In an academic world that is increasingly mechanizing the process of research and attempting to measure productivity solely in terms of publications, IIM Calcutta still stands tall in providing its students with the flexibility to pursue their passion while still making them market-ready. To my mind, it is indeed the place to be if one attempts to learn the difference between knowledge and wisdom.